Find the panda. A hidden panda has become the new Where’s Waldo of the internet age. It all started with a cuddly panda hiding in a field of snowmen, then it became cats hiding among the owls, and now there is a new version of the puzzle: a panda hiding in a sea of metal musicians… can you find it? The challenge has been shared 6,000 times and counting on Facebook.
A Norwegian artist named Espen Westum drew a crowd of heavy metal band members wearing full black and white face make-up and hid a single panda among them. Finding the one cuddly, soft creature among the hard rock musicians is a fun game, but why do we love it so muchit becomes a craze sweeping the internet? The answer lies in our brains.
Scanning a group of visually similar images and trying to find the one thing that does not fit (like a panda) is very pleasing for the brain and when we find it, our brain hits the “like” button. When we try to solve one of the puzzles, our brain has to work in two different directions at the same time. The brain has to identify “what” are we looking for and “where” it is at the same time, and automatically begins to filter out the key data.
Even though the puzzles are a lot of fun, they are a perfect way to keep your brain in shape. It forces us to filter out useless information, and find what is actually important. That makes us happy, so it’s like feeding our brain a treat. That brain chemistry drives the fad, not just the thrill of seeing if our friends can find the panda too.